Protecting the Southern Resident Killer Whale
As you may know, the Government of Canada has put in seasonal measures to help protect the Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW). New measures for vessels to follow include:
Effective June 1 – October 31, 2019:
A mandatory 400 metre approach distance for all killer whales throughout SRKW critical habitat, with the ability of the Minister of Transport to authorize commercial whale watching companies to approach other killer whale ecotypes to 200 metres, subject to certain conditions.
Mandatory interim sanctuaries with restrictions on fishing and vessel activity in Swiftsure Bank, south Saturna Island and west of Pender Island.
Effective August 1 – October 31, 2019:
Mandatory area-based fisheries closures for recreational and commercial salmon in key foraging areas.
Other actions to take while SRKW are present in BC waters in greater numbers:
A voluntary go slow and fishery avoidance zone, asking boaters to reduce their speed to less than 7 knots and avoid fishing when within 1,000 metres of a whale in the Enhanced Management Areas that have been identified through the Gulf Islands, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Mouth of the Fraser River.
Voluntary measures asking vessel operators to reduce noise by turning echo sounders off when not in use and turning their engines to neutral idle when within 400 metres of a whale.
Transport Canada has put together a video to watch, which explains what you can do to help protect the Southern Resident Killer Whale: https://www.dropbox.com/s/fw35cxkf5ycfn1a/SRKWvideo2019.mp4?dl=0